5. (SP) Adam Ottavino
Adam had significant control issues very early in spring training. In side sessions he was all over the place and was having troubles throwing strikes. But by the time he got into the games he was back on his game to some degree. In four spring training games, he pitched a total of 10 innings, giving up 10 hits and walking an alarming seven batters, but he had enough talent and stuff to strike out 12 batters, keeping him at least out of trouble most of the time. He finished with a respectable 2.70 ERA.
It should be noted, by March the 20th, he finally looked like a first round draft pick. In one game I saw him pitch, he manhandled the Dodgers prospects, facing the minimum number of batters in two innings, striking out three of them in the process. He was dominate.
The kid's stock does can't get much higher than it is right now, but it will.
4. (C) Bryan Anderson
The top rated catcher in the system hit only .219 this spring, but he looked like the quality catcher behind the plate that the fans have been hearing about, since he was selected in the fourth round (140th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Last season he spent the entire season with low Class A Quad Cities, where hit .302/.377/.417 with three home runs and 51 RBI in 109 games and he was named to the Midwest League Post-Season All-Star Team.
He'll start this season at Double-A Springfield and should be one of the more exciting players in the organization to watch. Hopefully his hitting will pick up as the regular season games get underway. His stock will rise with his hitting.
3. (LHP) Jaime Garcia
Garcia had a good spring training, appearing in four games and being among the organizational leaders with 14 IP. He finished spring training with a 2.57 ERA and while his WHIP was pretty high, he walked five batters and gave up 20 hits in just 14 innings, he did manage to strike out 11 batters.
Drafted out of high school, Garcia is only 20 years old and is considered very advanced for his age, Garcia attacks the strike zone with a 91-93 MPH sinker and a plus curve and a good change up. The Cardinals coaches are high on him because of his ground-to-fly ratio of nearly three-to-one. He'll start the season at Double-A Springfield and his stock is going to continue to go up.
2. (RHP) Blake Hawksworth
If the Cardinals are going to have to bring up someone to start at the Major League level this season, it is very likely going to be Blake Hawksworth. Blake managed to get into three Grapefruit League games with the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training, posting a record of 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs with two walks and two strikeouts.
It was his side sessions, working next to Chris Carpenter and under the watchful eyes of pitching coach Dave Duncan, that impressed me the most. The kid's stuff was electric.
I don't think coach Duncan would hesitate a second to ask for Hawksworth to make the trip to St. Louis for a spot start or two. It's even possible he could end up in the bullpen for the Cardinals at some point this season. Heck if he starts hitting there may even be an everyday position for him. His stock is rising.
1. (OF) Colby Rasmus
The top prospect in the organization is getting better with each passing day. I'm not sure he's going to be the Cardinals starting center fielder in 2009, but I wouldn't put it past him.
The Cardinals and Birdhouse's 2006 Minor League Player of the Year, Rasmus will start the season at Double-A Springfield, if he can make the adjustment to hitting at this level, then it could be very well possible he'll be in center field for the Cardinals on opening day in 2009.
You could see it in spring training, Colby has power and speed potential, he just needs to refine his plate discipline against advanced pitching to cut down on his strikeouts. He has a problem with left-handers and the breaking ball, but he should be able to overcome that in time with his excellent bat speed and improving pitch recognition.
He hit .356 during spring training and continues to look better every time you see him, so you would have to say is stock is rising and will continue to rise.